|Responding to Drug and Alcohol Problems in the Community (WHO, 1991, 109 p.)|
|3. Organizing primary health care services to combat drug and alcohol abuse|
Services will operate effectively only if the resources are appropriately assigned. This does not imply extensive financial outlay. On the contrary, an effective alcohol and drug service can reduce overall health costs.
Drug and alcohol services do not demand expensive methods, but rather the deployment of simple skills to the primary health care workers, broadening their approach, and improving their efficiency. The following activities will need to be funded:
· training activities;
· supervision and support from higher levels;
· appropriate means of transport;
· support of coordinating groups (most of them voluntary), e.g., the CAT;
· provision of essential medication;
· establishment of key, multidisciplinary staff members, such as a coordinator or community nurse.
In summary, the primary health care worker deals with drug and alcohol problems within the primary health care setting, but works within the wider community and looks to the hospital specialist for support. This may appear to be too much work for a primary level worker. It should be remembered, however, that the system described here is an ideal to be worked towards. The PHC worker should attempt to obtain help from both the community and specialist workers to work out effective ways of providing a primary health care alcohol and drug service within the community.